Below the Rim

Long before the dawning

Not a creature heard about.

Old bones they start to aching

As tired muscles begin to shout.

~~~

 He struggles from his bedroll

Tired and broke and bent.

Mornings they come early below the rim

When you’re under ole “Cookie’s Tent.”

~~~

An ole black hat sets on his head

Weathered by sweat and smoke.

As he kneels there on the ground

The morning fire he begins to stoke.

~~~

 It is a battle to stand upright

And he is proud to make it once more.

His ole tired muscles have faded

Like time washes sand there from the shore.

~~~

Sixty years he’s been a wagon cook

And time it hasn’t been too fair.

Weathered, scared and weary

He has seen and done his share.

~~~

They say he broke his back

I believe it was in the fall of ’83.

A runaway team flipped the wagon

And it was the next day b’for they got him free.

 ~~~

There’s many wrinkles on his face

Etched there by time and sun.

Maybe they’re his message or reminder

That his ole race is nearly done.

 ~~~

You will never here him say much

But I’d give anything to know his story.

Oh you’ll catch a little mumble every now and then

Something about his days of glory.

 ~~~

They say he came over from England

A yougin’ of 14, a stowaway on a boat.

Craving the cowboy lifestyle

From reading dime novels, some feller wrote.

 ~~~

You can ask him about his past

He’ll just say it sure went by in a flash.

Then he’ll go back to making biscuits

Stirring gravy and the hash.

 ~~~

His eyes still have a little sparkle

But like his ole lantern it too is growing dim.

His gait is somewhat slower

As the first hint of morning peaks above the rim.

 ~~~

But you won’t catch him loafing

His food is always hot.

The grub it is aplenty

And coffee is always in the pot.

 ~~~

Now I’m glad I heard him stirring

And peeked from my bedroll,

To watch this bit of history

And the journey that did unfold.

 ~~~

I never will forget that morning

That time I spent with him.

I now look back on it often

That morning there “Below the Rim.”

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